WILMER, TEXAS - Interstate 45 has re-opened after being closed for nearly 10 hours following a fiery crash involving a semi truck that was carrying pigs.
The crash took place just after 6 a.m. Thursday. Images from the scene of the crash showed the truck turned on its side surrounded by scorched debris. Some of the livestock was loose on the highway.
Details about the crash haven't been released. Both directions of the interstate were shut down in the wake of the crash, with morning rush hour commuters seeing significant delays.
All lanes were open for the afternoon rush hour.
Just before 2 p.m. officials said the truck was turned upright, and there was more hazmat cleanup to do.
The pigs roamed for hours after the trailer carrying them turned over. The driver survived.
A livestock pen tucked away on a quiet dead-end past the landfill, might just be pig heaven, that is, at least for now.
“It was a total of 3 vehicles, two 18-wheelers, and a car. The driver was able to make it out. He has no injuries,” said Wilmer Police Department spokesman Lt. Eric Von. “The biggest challenge we’ve had so far was just corralling the pigs, keeping them from getting into oncoming traffic and getting ran over, but I do believe we’ve got all of them.”
According to officials, there were an estimated 200 pigs on board. At least 15 are dead.
In a statement, the non-profit animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said the pigs running for the hills shows the animals “value their lives just as we do.”
“PETA is calling for their bid for freedom — as they ran down the interstate — to be honored by sending them to a sanctuary, not a slaughterhouse,” wrote David Perle, spokesman for PETA.
It was a wild morning for Terry Lindley who works for the Water Department in Wilmer. A small staff meant all hands on deck.
“Well, this is an experience out here, but you never know what to expect anywhere on the highway,” he said. “First one I caught was about a mile down the road at the Beltline exit.”
Freedom was short-lived for the pigs that did make it. They were rounded up and taken to the Kennedy Livestock Center near the state jail in Hutchins.
Anytime live animals are on the run, that is where they go. The livestock unit has been in place since the 1960’s.
Today, Deputy Robert Vaughan is in charge. He said the longest the pigs could stay would be 18 days.
Once inside the pen, the exhausted pigs grazed on the grace, rolled around in the mud to cool off, and drank lots of water.
The pigs have already been claimed. The owners can have them back as soon as they pay up. Impounding large livestock is $75 with a boarding fee of $8 a day.
Catherine Park with 11Alive contributed video to this story.
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